It is unlikely for me to feature such a morbid photo on my blog. I still get the jitters, but more from how people will react than from the picture itself.
I used to be very squeamish when it comes to any other species, dead or alive. A hummingbird at my balcony is cute and chirpy, but not anymore when it comes any closer. The same with insects, small furry animals, big farm animals; the only exceptions are horses and dolphins.
Village life where I could only take it or leave, taught me to accept nature with a bigger heart and lesser judgement. In mid-summer Shanghai, I had baby bats dropping dead (heat stroke?) on my doorstep every other day. 😦 I cannot believe I grew used to it. I had to. Up in the Thai mountains, I had to fight scorpions, snakes, horn-billed beetles, and sometimes our domestic cat. My heart grew stronger, as I learnt through each battle that this is part and parcel of the cycle / circle of life. We all live and we all die. We all have our own lessons and we all have our own purposes. Judge less, and we can push our boundaries of understanding way broader. Universe is big in that way, and us tiny humans have to grow bigger.
Back to the cow horns. It would seem pretty unlikely that I feature this dead bull photo as a story of (possible) benevolence. However, do you know that most cattle no longer have horns? To protect farmers and their other farm animals, their horns are removed. I only knew this during my farming stint, when we had to hunt down cow horns (not the cows) for our farming preparations – horns that are removed when the cows died naturally, not those forcedly removed from them. It was not an easy feat, because cows these days hardly get to retain their horns. We searched all over China before finding enough for our farm in the north.
I was queasy to the max when we first opened the precious cargo. Some of them were still bloodied. I only feature the clean and dry ones here. More queasiness ensued when we had to put cow dung into the cow horns. I had already been working on / with manure for months by then, but normally it was the farm hands doing the physical work. We had the experts flown in from New Zealand specially to teach us the techniques, so I had to brace myself and overcome the girliness and just do it. We then buried the horns and gave Mother Nature the time/space to do her thing.
The essence of the cosmic life force and the magic of time. Half a year later, we dug them out. Manure was no longer manure! It was fresh, light and fluffy like humus! Pretty cool, I could bear to use my bare hands to touch them this time. There was a tiny bit of psychological barrier at first, but the fluffiness was too enticing to not poke my finger in it. We did the little community ritual of stirring it in water into a vortex, but I never got to see it being sprayed on the land. That was as far as I got in my involvement. I was secretly looking forward to stuffing yarrow in deer bladder but I have no idea whether they ever attempted that. By then, my focus was shifted back onto the infrastructure development.
That is how we push our boundaries, a small event at a time.
Fact check moment: cow horns are used for the BD preps, not bull horns. The bull horns is just a case in point that I can now appreciate the beauty of nature as it is, without judgement that this is creepy, that is scary, those are morbid, etc.